We still need help Saturday in the concession stand …
The play is only two weeks away and we need parents to sew costumes …
Our May Day committee needs a chairperson and you did such a great job the last two years …
The list can go on and on. On a weekly basis, our email inboxes, kids’ backpacks and Facebook newsfeeds are filled with multiple opportunities to volunteer.
These are great opportunities to make a difference … yet we receive so many that we typically can respond only to a few.
That can make the task for finding and organizing volunteers overwhelming.
In fact, most people seem to fall into one of two types of categories—those who avoid any type of all volunteer activity and those who volunteer for everything.
Unfortunately, members of that second group can eventually burn out and become part of the first group.
So why doesn’t everyone just do their part so the same people don’t burn out?
My alarm went off at 5 a.m. and I hit snooze. It was still dark outside and I wondered how on earth I would get these teenage girls up and out the door by 5:45 a.m. I flipped on the light after warning them with a 3-2-1 count and then I ran to get in line for the bathroom we shared with about 20 other females in the area to which we’d been assigned in a church.
Thankfully, I had to remind them only once to get up. They knew they had to get to breakfast in time to eat and pack their lunches before heading out to our job sites. The earlier we left, the sooner we could finish before temperatures became unbearable.
This was our morning routine during a youth mission trip to McColl, South Carolina, where about 20 adults and 60 teenagers volunteered to repair broken homes and, while doing so, also fix some broken hearts.
This trip, taken in late June, was my first mission trip with my two younger daughters, who are 16 and 14. I had received approval to use Diakon’s Love of Thy Neighbor fund to assist with the trip; the fund provided extra paid vacation days, as well as some grant money to use toward travel expenses.
After reading stories from co-workers who did mission work and learning how much they helped others beyond what we do during our typical work days, I wanted to do the same thing.
Even in retirement many people remain active in their communities, especially as volunteers. Our Diakon Senior Living Services campuses are home to many of these caring individuals. Two Twining Village residents offer their experiences on why they share their time and talents with others in need of compassion and connection…
I really had no background or training in volunteering when I came to Twining Village in May 2014, but I’ve been glad to be able to serve. I actually started as soon as I got here.
I visit the residents who have Alzheimer’s disease or similar memory-related illnesses and say the Rosary and the Our Father with them. But I don’t just say it and leave; I stay until I make contact. I touch their arms or look into their eyes. They may not be able to talk, but I’m sure many of them appreciate knowing they have someone there just for them.
One of some 230 meals on wheels volunteers with Diakon Community Services, Michelle Eshelman enjoys helping people. Sometimes, that help takes a different turn …making her a new “Buddy” in the process…. She writes about the experience:
The first time I delivered meals to “Buddy’s” owner, I could not help but notice Buddy. He barked from the time I pulled in until the time I left. This continued for the next three or four deliveries. Every time I made a delivery, I would talk to him, but he just barked.
Why volunteer? Why not? A meals on wheels volunteer, Barbara Carduff, shares her reasoning:
“I work at Schuylkill Medical Center South and a coworker of mine volunteers for Meals on Wheels and said they were in need of someone in Shenandoah[, Pennsylvania,] for Wednesdays. My daughter, who is a nursing student, was off from classes that day so we thought, why not?